updated 12:20 pm EST, Tue January 4, 2011
Device lacks filtering software, says gov't.
The Japanese government is criticizing Apple Japan and cellular carrier Softbank for a lack of content filtering on the iPhone, reports say. Specifically, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is expected to ask for region-tailored filtering software to be installed as soon as possible. Local stores are obligated to install censorship tools on phones sold to minors.
A Softbank representative claims that installing filtering would be unworkable, as stores would be forced to ask for private data such as credit card numbers before software could be downloaded. Apple Japan's response is so far unknown. The international company has been willing to bend to regional concerns in the past however, for instance by manufacturing Chinese iPhones without Wi-Fi receivers; a change in local regulations ultimately allowed standard hardware.
Apple Japan has experienced a series of public embarrassments in recent times. It has for instance been accused of dragging its heels on overheating first-generation iPod nanos, to the point of only initiating a replacement program in August 2010 as a result of government pressure. A consortium of local book publishers has taken the company to task for failing to crack down on pirated books and comics on the App Store.